‘Victorian Craft Award’ @ 45downstairs

2 08 2015

Following on from my visit to the Victorian Craft Award‘ at Craft, I popped into the continued exhibition at 45downstairs.

I’ve said a million times, I love this space for its brightness and that window.

exhibition at 45downstairs

exhibition at 45downstairs

More textile works are here than were at Craft … which I was glad to see, as I was beginning to wonder about their inclusion. The grouping in the first (smaller) room were beautifully curated; they look amazing together, being similar in their colourings.

exhibition at 45downstairs

exhibition at 45downstairs

I took a number of photographs, but I think in my haste I failed to get the focus right. Grrr.

My absolute run-away favourite of this group was the large pastel-coloured ceramic ‘Sometimes Yes‘ by Kate Jones (front and centre in the top image); and therefore I was exceptionally pleased she won the ceramic award.

A close second was the wall installation ‘Domestic Rail‘ by Mark Edgoose; and more work by Lindy McSwan’s ‘Take Me Back to Blue Rag Range‘.

Victorian Craft Award‘ is at Craft and other venues until 15th August 2015 … quick quick, that’s only two weeks!





‘Victorian Craft Award’ @ Craft

1 08 2015

The ‘Victorian Craft Award‘ exhibition is exceptional and important. Sounds pompous yes … I know, but I challenge you to tell me of better exposition of contemporary craft.

Today the award winners were announced:

  • Lynne Kosky Jewellery Award : Natalia Milosz-Piekarska
  • Jewellery Encouragement Award : Sun-Woong Bang
  • Excellence Award : Manon van Kouswijk
  • Decal Ceramic Award : Kate Jones
exhibition at Craft

exhibition at Craft

This post is about the work showing at Craft. The exhibition is so comprehensive they’ve had to share is across a number of sites, including 45downstairs (post coming), Sofitel and 1 Spring St.

The 116 artists to participate are listed on the Craft website [I really wanted to link to the Victorian Craft Award website, but I just couldn’t get the darn thing to load – while it wouldn’t be fabulous if that means my computron is being silly, I kind of hope that’s the case and everyone else can see the site easily].

Katherine Bowman, Vito Bila, and I'm sorry but I didn't note the ceramic artitsts names

(anticlockwise from bottom left) Katherine Bowman, Vito Bila, Lene Kuhl Jakobsen, Anna Forsyth

There are many beautiful objects here … something close to overwhelming actually.

Those I particularly responded to, from the group at Craft, include:

  • Elizabeth Kennedy’s ‘Stains and Memories‘; tender and evocative embroidery and jewellery works

    Elizabeth Kennedy

    Elizabeth Kennedy

  • John Dermer’s ‘Salt Glazed Porcelain‘; a gorgeous shape and beguiling glaze colours

    John Dermer

    John Dermer

  • Katie Jacobs’s ‘Wolf Head‘ has an impressive presence (in first image)
  • Michael Wong’s ‘Jelly Legs‘ brooch is assured

I’ll write about the work at 45downstairs next.

Victorian Craft Award‘ is at Craft and other venues until 15th August 2015 … quick quick, that’s only two weeks!





Still life paintings

5 05 2015

I was watching a documentary the other day about still life paintings (‘Apples Pears and Paint. How to Make a Still Life Painting‘, BBC).

It was pretty good.
Though one thing annoyed me, perhaps unreasonably …

Starting with the interesting observation: that a great majority of still life paintings are lit from the left. I’ve been looking at art since I can remember and admit to not having made this observation.

Another few interesting comments: that the painting of everyday objects was considered the most lowly manner of art for centuries, and that the painting now considered to be the first ‘still life’ is Caravaggio’s ‘Basket of Fruit‘ (1599).

Caravaggio 'Canestra di frutta' (click on image for original source)

Caravaggio ‘Canestra di frutta’ (click on image for original source)

Then onto the theory / justification for the left lighting: that it was due to the increasing literacy (coinciding with the time of the Renaissance) and that in western culture information is read from left to right; and therefore we ‘read’ all information from left to right, even visual information. Ergo the left-originating light in still life.

I think the simpler reason still life paintings are lit from the left is that many artists are right-handed, and that if the light were to come from the right then the paper/canvas wouldn’t be well lit and the working hand would create a shadow.

Actually, I recognise that itself contains an assumption … do you know of any evidence of left versus right hand tendencies in artists?

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Apparently Leonard da Vinci drew and painted left-handed – which may actually discredit my idea above, as some of his portraits are lit from the left, with others from the right … but he’s a genius, so he could well have done whatever he liked.

Also, this article discusses claims of left-handed artists, dismissing many of them.

More research to come … I’m wondering if this hasn’t already been the subject of someone’s thesis … surely …

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Emma Fielden ‘Infinity’ @ Courtesy of the Artist Studio

9 03 2015

Following her National Contemporary Jewellery award, Emma Fielden is showing Infinity‘ at Courtesy of the Artist Studio (Surrey Hills, Sydney). Sadly I’m not able to get to the exhibition in person, but feel such a strong connection to the work that I’m compelled to write about it.

I’m impossibly in love with the below image.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

When I have an incredibly strong response to another person’s art work like this, I feel like I almost want to disappear into it … I wish I could have thought of it and made it … I want to possess it, not just the object but the ideas that built it … it’s a strange ache, an unnamed emotion … and exceptionally difficult to describe (without sounding just a little psycho!).

I believe the above is a close-up of the below drawing. It’s amazing to my eyes … little changes in the tilt of her hand, ink and energy flow and such, show up in subtle unintended yet beautiful rhythms in the pattern.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

Exhibition media: “For this exhibition Emma presents a series of work on the theme infinity – a series of drawings, engraved brooches, and for the first time a print.
The notion of infinity has been emerging in Emma’s work for some time. Her earlier works involving line, mark making and drawing evolved into an exploration of the grid, and in her last body of work (2013) she came to take the grid as a symbol of infinity. Now Emma Fielden has entered into a deeper and more thematic exploration of infinity, both as a mathematic and metaphysical concept.

It was only after falling for the above drawings that I also read what Emma has written about her work: “They are pictures of the night sky. They are star gazing. They are a decimal expression of infinity. They are a trinity. They reject religion and suppose its origin. They are devotional. They are an abyss. They are wonder at the infinite and our place in it.” 

Oh my … this speaks to so many things I love … numbers and the stars. Not to mention my adoration of work that involves precision, extreme patience and attention; and I think I may also love repetition, but repetition that permits small variations.

The exhibition includes brooches too; though I think they’re trickier to get a feel for without seeing them in person.

I remember seeing the series that secured her award at Courtesy of the Artist last year and felt strangely uncertain though intrigued by them. I think their flatness, their almost two-dimensionality, felt close to unsubstantial … somehow less satisfying than if they had a little more weight or physical depth … though in retrospect this choice is no doubt entirely intentional and required for the expression of the intent.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

The Courtesy of the Artist facebook page has a interesting statement attached to one of the photographs: “The lines of the grids extend to the edge of the surface and, by virtue of the imagination, to infinity. Each element is part of the larger grid, which is itself a portion of an even larger one and so on.
Akin to Cantor’s Dust, the work points to the scale of infinity – the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small. It draws on set theory and it’s infinite infinities. And by breaking down the grid and placing it upon the body, it seeks to make the infinite intimate.

I’m sorry I cannot see the whole body of work in person; here’s hoping that perhaps in time Melbourne shall host an exhibition.

Emma Fielden ‘Infinity‘ is at Courtesy of the Artist Studio until 28th March 2015.

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ps. make sure you check out Emma’s website, and follow her if you’re on Instagram if you don’t already (the photograph of her drawing with magnifying lenses on is my favourite).





The lust list, v2

5 02 2015

So … it’s been a few years since the original lust list was written.

Since then a two MAJOR items have been ticked off …. I know, it is exciting!

  • a Suzi Zutic ring

    original photograph credit Suzi Zutic; images not to be reproduced without permission

    original photograph credit Suzi Zutic; images not to be reproduced without permission

  • a Helen Britton ring

    with the Gallery Funaki photograph - all mine!

    with the Gallery Funaki photograph – all mine!

I have added a few new ones to the “as-yet-unattained lust list”:

….

 





New art crush

5 12 2014

I’ve been indulging in art documentaries and have a new little art crush. It’s surprising really, for it’s an artist who’s almost been hiding in plain sight: Johannes Vermeer.

His most celebrated painting, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring‘, is so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to separate the genuine beauty from the artefact, its visage and accumulated assumptions (book covers and posters and movies and such).

Take another look at his other paintings … lordy, they’re lovely … the colour and quietness is so appealing.

from Wiki; click on source for original source

from Wiki; click on source for original source

Most especially, in my eyes, ‘The Milkmaid‘ (c.1658, above), ‘The Wine Glass‘ (1658-60) and ‘The Astronomer‘ (1668).





RMIT student work

29 11 2014

While you’re at RMIT visiting ‘Hey Handsome‘ and ‘Greater Than, Less Than‘, make sure you make a quick visit to the basement level of Building 2 to see the student work in the cabinet.

RMIT student cabinet

RMIT student cabinet

This is the closest thing to a 1st and 2nd year exhibition we’ll see this year … yes, much sad face.